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"The Complete Play Production Handbook"

"This book is a great source of ideas and reminders of things to be aware of. There are better books specifically focused on acting and/or directing. But this book addresses just about all facets of putting on a play, and addresses it at the level of the typical community theater or school production."
--William Ahlstrom
--Milwaukee WI USA
--July 21, 2004

Allensworth, Carl, with Dorothy Allensworth and Clayton Rawson. The Complete Play Production Handbook, rev. ed. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1982.

--B. D Falk "eoi"
--August 19, 2001
--Los Angeles, CA USA

Here is the equivalent of a full library on theatrical production, all between the covers of a single volume. Clearly and concisely, but with the rich understanding and enthusiasm that come from long association with the theatre, it covers every step in the mounting of a play, from the time the director selects a script to the moment the curtain goes up on opening night.

"The Complete Play Production Handbook" makes an ideal introduction to the world of the theatre; teachers especially, from elementary school to college, will find it helpful in staging plays of every sort. At the same time, the handbook's thorough treatment, broad coverage, and extensive appendixes (including a guide to suppliers of theatrical equipment and a glossary of technical terms) make this an invaluable reference work for almost anyone involved in any capacity-director, actor, or stagecrew member-in the hundreds of thousands of dramatic productions that are put on each year by little theatres, community theatres, and summerstock companies.

This book provides specific, detailed answers to the many questions that trouble any group seeking to bring a play to life. It tells how to read a play and understand the playwright's intentions; how the director and actors can invigorate the play through their handling of dialogue, movement, and business; and how the arts of scene design, lighting design, costuming, and makeup can be meshed to enhance the production. It also tells how to avoid the alltoo-common pitfalls of amateur productions: a play that is badly chosen, either for the performers or for the audience; a play that is misinterpreted, or not interpreted at all; a play that is so obviously miscast that the dramatic values are distorted; a play that is so badly staged that the action cannot be followed; a play that is ruined by poor scenery, lighting, or costumes, or one that fails because the different members of the theatrical team have not agreed on a common goal.

Here are the fundamentals of directing and acting lucidly explained, with line drawings and photographs of actual productions to illustrate key concepts and techniques, from the composition of the stage picture by the director to the proper handling by the actor of. crosses and turns. Here, too, is a wealth of detailed information on building and painting sets; on properties and special effects; on costumes and makeup; and on house management, promotion, and ticket sales. The proper protocol for the conduct of casting sessions and rehearsals; formulas for mixing stage paints; the making of ground plans, light plots, and prop plots; the necessary contents of a makeup kit and their application; poster design, ticket printing, and box-office procedures-these are only a few of the many topics covered.
"The Complete Play Production Handbook" gives specific "how to" answers to all the many questions that the members of any theatrical group must solve if their audiences-and if they themselves are to find their productions rewarding. It is essential reading for every member of the theatrical team.

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